Target: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Goal: Stop the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, by phasing out the use of antibiotics in the meat industry
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently spoke out about the dangers associated with the high amount of antibiotics being used in today’s meat products. According to the World Health Organization, about three times as many antibiotics are sold and used for animals in meat production as are used for treating human illnesses. These antibiotics could be put to more efficient use treating humans worldwide who are sick. Most frighteningly, scientific research for years has pointed to the misuse of antibiotics in animals for meat production as a key reason many disease organisms are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
The FDA has committed to phasing out the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Antibiotics have been added to animal feed for years to make animals grow faster on less food, but FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine admits they have no clear explanation for why this treatment works. The FDA is also requiring a veterinarian to oversee the use of any remaining antibiotics that are used in animals for slaughter, to ensure the drugs are being used appropriately and safely. Drug companies must now include a warning label stating that the antibiotics must only be used to treat actual illnesses in animals under the supervision of a veterinarian.
The Center for Disease Control has also chimed in, saying “antibiotics should be used in food-producing animals only under veterinary oversight and only to manage and treat infectious diseases, not to promote growth.” If antibiotics continue to be used in meat production, diseases that are now easily treatable with antibiotics could once again become potentially fatal, due to human resistance to antibiotics. We need to stop wasting valuable medicine and risking human lives merely so the meat industry can make a bigger profit. Support the FDA’s efforts to end the use of antibiotics in meat production.
Dear FDA Representatives,
My sincerest thanks for speaking out against the use of antibiotics in meat production. Antibiotics have been used for years to make animals grow bigger and faster with less animal feed. But constant exposure to these antibiotics in the food we eat is increasing our resistance to these important medicines that could save our lives in the event that we get sick. Diseases that are now easily treatable with antibiotics could prove to be deadly if our bodies no longer respond to antibiotics.
There are countless people all over the world who die every day because they do not have access to antibiotics that could save their lives. Antibiotics are wasted on the meat industry, in order for them to make a bigger profit faster and easier. These risks do not outweigh the benefits, and it is important that the meat industry end all antibiotic use as soon as possible. Thank you for demanding that meat producers phase out the use of antibiotics, and they seek the guidance of veterinarians on the proper and safe use of antibiotics for animals being raised for slaughter. Please stick to your cause, and enforce any laws necessary in order to end all antibiotic use in the meat industry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ryan Thompson via Wikimedia